13 November 2007

If God drove a 4-door sedan...

...He'd drive this:

A Honda Civic Type-R FD2

I had the pleasure of trying out the new Honda Civic Type-R in Sepang Circuit, courtesy of Honda Malaysia.

Now, I've not driven that many cars before, but I highly doubt you'll ever find another FF (Front-engine, Front-wheel-drive) car that'll outperform this on a race track. Though it looks a lot like a regular Civic with some lame spoilers, skirts and air dams, it's a completely different beast.

The rear end will be a familiar sight on highways. There's a rear diffuser below the bumper.

Welcome to heaven. Check out the manual gearbox - when's the last time you saw one of these???

The 2.0-litre Honda K20A iVTEC engine churns out 225BHP at over 8000RPM. PHWOAAARRRR!!!!

The engine is super smooth and supremely powerful, the suspension is perfectly set up for track work so it corners with God-like amounts of grip and its 6-speed manual gearbox is soooo darn precise, you have to wonder why Honda doesn't include it with regular Civics (for that matter, I don't see why any car nut would ever one to go back to an auto box).

And thanks to its advanced LSD (that's a limited-slip differential, not the hallucinogenic drug), it's almost impossible to induce understeer in hard cornering - even if you've got your foor buried on the throttle.

Speaking of which, the pedals in this car are perfectly positioned for nifty heel-and-toe downshifts, aided also by a well dampened clutch and superb throttle response.

In a nutshell, this car provides so much feedback and is a delight to the senses - you can feel every corner and push harder and harder towards the car's limits, unlike any other FF you've probably driven.

I tried Mercedes' entire 2005 AMG range (apart from the SL55, which I didn't get a stab at) at Sepang Circuit a few years ago and even though all of those cars sported much more torque and horsepower, none can come anywhere close to providing this much excitement and intimacy.

The only problem is, I only had four laps in the Type-R (after three in the regular 2.0 Civic) and was just starting to get comfortable with doing four-wheel drifts before running out of time.

Heading out of the pits

Whatever it is, I'm completely smitten. For less than RM200k, this is definitely the best car in the world. Buy one now! NOW! If I could sell a kidney to finance one of these, I would. After the session, I was giggling like a little girl for a good 10 minutes :)

(I hear the waiting list goes all the way to 2009, though - and I might not last that long sans a kidney. Also note that Malaysia is the only country outside of Japan to have this Japan-spec Civic Type-R officially available).